How Long Do Goldfish Live? (Increase Their Lifespan)

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how long can goldfish live

The little goldfish is one of the most basic fish people keep as pets. They are available everywhere, and since they are beautiful, they are popular as people’s fish. But, most people don’t realize that many kinds of goldfish exist.  

Goldfish are a sub-part of the Cyprinidae family and native to East Asian waters. Goldfish are available in many sizes, colors, and shapes because of being popular pet fish. 

There is a common misconception that goldfish don’t live long or are difficult to care for. But that is not true because how long do goldfish live depends on how well and carefully you keep them.

And this blog is dedicated to telling you how long a goldfish’s lifespan is. So let’s get on with our guide to keeping goldfish alive.

How Long Do Goldfish Live?

Now, if you are wondering how long do goldfish live for, then the simple answer to this question is that they can live longer than you expect.

If loved and cared for, they can live up to 15 years healthily in a fish tank. If they are getting the right diet and prospering, they can live up to 20 years in the wild. 

Image of five different goldfish

Some goldfish species can even live up to 30 years when provided with proper care. But, since people don’t know much about goldfishes despite them being the most famous and loved pet fish, these fish don’t reach their full potential of growth and die sooner than they should.

One thing that will reduce the life span of the goldfish is keeping them in small fish bowls. However, these bowls are cramped and don’t give appropriate space for any aquatic animal to thrive happily. Therefore, you are advised against keeping goldfish in small fish bowls.

9 Ways To Increase Goldfish Lifespan In 2023

Now that we have told you about how long a goldfish lives. It is time to learn about ways that can help us in increasing the lifespan of the goldfish.

As you already know that goldfish can live very long. But, it requires you to take good care of them. This is the basic rule for keeping your goldfish happy, healthy, and alive for a long. 

However, there are nine more ways how you can ensure your goldfish lives longer that we will discuss now.

#1- Feed Them The Correct Diet

Diet is one of the vital elements in keeping goldfish alive for longer. They are omnivores. This means that they can eat meat and plant-based diets, but that doesn’t mean they will eat anything you give them. 

Goldfish usually benefit from high protein to carb-laden food, and the food should be a good quality one with occasional treats in between.

close up Image of goldfish eating something

However, you should carefully monitor the food given to goldfish because they don’t know when to stop eating. Giving them too much food means they will continuously eat and harm themselves. 

Ideally, you should give them special food for goldfish. Also, remember to pre-soak the fish food if you want to give them flaky foods because the flakes will stay at the top of the water, and since goldfish are bottom feeders, they will become gassy and float upside down.

#2- Consider Keeping Them In A Pond

Goldfish are used to living in spacious places, and keeping them in a small tank raises the question of how long do goldfish live in a small tank? They can only live for 3-4 years max in small places. This is why you should consider keeping them in a garden pond.

Image of a backyard fish pond

Living in a pond will give them a lot of space to move around, and favorable water conditions will help them grow more than 45cm and live longer than 25 years.  

Garden ponds are also easier to maintain because larger water bodies are more stable than small aquariums.   You can either go for dug-in-the-ground ponds or raised ponds In your garden. 

#3- Water Quality And Parameters

A thing that shortens the lifespan of goldfish is poor water. There are certain water parameters that you need to take care of if you want to keep goldfish as pets (especially if you want to keep fancy goldfish):

  1. The pH level of the water should be around 7.0 to 8.0.
  2. Nitrite and Ammonia should be only .2 mg because the goldfish can’t tolerate a higher amount of these chemicals.
  3. The water should be sweet and soft so they may live peacefully.

If you are wondering how long goldfish can live without changing water, you should already know that they can’t survive for long. So you need to clean their water after a couple of weeks to keep the environment of the aquarium or pond healthy. 

Apart from this, you should also install filters and use water testing kits to ensure that the water in which your fish is living is always up to their mark, or they can die.

#4- Maintain The Water Temperature

Goldfish are cold-water fish. They can survive in warm or heated aquariums, but the water should ideally have a 15°C to 25°C temperature and should not be kept in direct heat of sunlight.

These fish thrive better in a cool environment, so you should never leave them in a heated place. Also, remember to give them a constant water temperature and don’t drastically change it daily. 

#5- Don’t Overfeed Your Goldfish

Since goldfish don’t know how to stop eating and will eat as much food as you give them, giving them that much food is cruel, they are heavy eaters, and all they want to do is feed all day!

But doing so will kill them before they live to their full potential. Overfeeding them won’t only harm your fish, but it also fouls the waters because of all the waste material. 

Image of goldfishes in fishing tank

Ideally, you should only feed them special goldfish food and only 3-4 pellets of food they can enjoy for 2-3 minutes. But how long can goldfish live without food? If they are in a pond, they can survive up to 14 days without food.

After that, they can feed on algae or insects (depending on the size of the pond). However, in an aquarium, the timespan of survival might be lowered.

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#6- Don’t Keep Them In A Bowl

Consider the bowl as one small room with over ten people, and it feels cramped, right? This is how goldfish feel when they are in a small bowl.

So, how long do goldfish live in a bowl? They barely survive in it and also don’t live for more than 3-4 years. These fishing bowls don’t give the space a living being wants to explore and swim.

Image of goldfishes inside a bowl

It also contains less water that gets dirty quickly, has to be cleaned more frequently, and you can’t fit a water filter in it. These things can deeply disturb your goldfish, making them stressed and die sooner than they should. 

Don’t be cruel. Give fish the space they deserve or don’t keep any pets if you can’t give them their required space.

#7- Keep The Habitat Clean

These fragile yet sturdy fish are like princesses. They can’t bear to live in a dirty habitat and will probably get sick if you don’t clean their home for too long.

It would be ideal if you cleaned their aquarium once every couple of months and partially changed the water once a week.

  • First, take the fish out carefully and put them in a bucket with old aquarium water.
  • Then take out all the fittings and decorations of the aquarium, wash them with soft water, and put them aside; next, take the filter and wash it with a brush.
  • Once you do all this, it is time to clean the aquarium. Take your fish tank and wash it only with water and cloth so that all the residue and algae get washed off.
  • Don’t use any chemicals to wash the aquarium or the fittings because it can harm your fish. 
  • Fish the tank with fresh water and gently pour the fish back into the clean water.

#8- Avoid Overcrowding

Goldfish are one of those fish that don’t kill other fish; instead, they enjoy each other’s company. But, that enjoyment can become a death sentence if you overstock the aquarium or the pond.

Usually, other fish only want 1 gallon per fish to survive. But, goldfish need more space because they dirty the water more and require more space to thrive.

So, the best rule is to put one goldfish per 10 gallons of water. This will not only make your pet happy but also keep the tank’s water healthy and clean for goldfish. 

#9- Ensure Proper Bacteria Levels

There are two types of bacteria, good and bad. The filter you install in your goldfish’s tank should be good enough to stop bad bacteria from building and allow good bacteria to build in the water.

In addition, it should harbor good bacteria, which will break harmful chemicals like nitrates and Ammonia, preventing them from harming the fish. 

How Long Can Goldfish Live Without Food?

Sometimes, we find ourselves in desperate situations where we are out of food for our pet fish and can’t go out to get food for them.

And in such an instance, we wonder how long can goldfish go without food? But, don’t worry because goldfish are sturdy fish and can survive without food for many days. 

Image of goldfish in aquarium

If your goldfish is healthy, they can go without food for around 15 days. Their digestion is strong enough to keep them alive without the required nutrients.

However, you should try that such a situation doesn’t arrive where your goldfish has to starve. So, if you cannot feed your fish for 1-2 days, and then after a few days you feed them, don’t give them a lot of food because it can harm them. Instead, feed them the usual amount.

How Old Is The Oldest Goldfish Fish?

Goldie was a 45-year-old goldfish owned by Pauline and Tom Evans since the 1960s. He died in 2005 after being a celebrity for around 45 years.

Image of of two Oldest Goldfish Fish

Another oldest goldfish to live is Tish, who is 43 years old. She lived with Gordon and Hilda Hand of Carlton Miniott, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She also got recognized by Guinness World Records for being the oldest goldfish alive.

Tish was a game reward at the fairground stall in 1956, where Peter, the son of Hilda, won her. Tish has such a long relationship with the Hand family that she recognizes them whenever they interact with her.

The lifespan of Different Goldfish Types

There are many types of goldfish out there; some are common ones, while others are fancy ones. But, one common thing in all the goldfish species is that they can live up to 10-20 years in the wild and (plus/minus) a few years in the aquarium with proper care. 

However, you should know exactly how long which goldfish lives.

  • Oranda –can live up to 15 years
  • Ranchu –can live up to 11-14 years
  • Fantail –can live up to 5-10 years
  • Comet –can live up to 5-15 years
  • Black Moor –can live up to 20 years
  • Common goldfish can live up to 20-45 years
  • Ryukin –can live up to 10-15 years 
  • Pearlscale –can live up to 5-10 years
  • Butterfly Goldfish –can live up to 8-10 years
  • Panda Goldfish –can live up to 10-20 years
  • Wakin –can live up to 10-15 years (usually only 12 years)

These were some of the most common goldfish kept as pets and their lifespans. 

Final Verdict:

Goldfish are very different from other pets like cats and dogs because they can’t express their happiness as clearly as other animals. But, keeping goldfish happy is very easy. If they are floating here and there, eating their food and producing waste properly indicates their happiness. 

By following the above-mentioned guidelines, you will keep your goldfish happy, healthy, and alive for more years. Caring properly for your fish will go a long way to keeping them alive for longer. Hopefully, now you know all about how long do goldfishes live and how to keep them alive for a long. 

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – How long do goldfish live naturally?

On average, a goldfish’s lifespan is around 25 to 40 years in the wild. This is because they have a lot of space to swim around, versatile food to eat, and more stable water conditions.

If they get something remotely similar to this in captivity, then they might also live for 25 to 40 years in an aquarium.

#2 – How long do goldfish in a bowl live?

Usually, the goldfish that live in a bowl are barely surviving. It is a miracle if they even make it to one year because of the water condition and space in a fish bowl.

After that, they basically suffocate in there and die. But on the other hand, a goldfish can live up to 3 years maximum in a fish bowl. 

#3 – Do goldfish like dirty water?

No, goldfish are delicate creatures and can only survive in dirty water for a short time. They want clean water to thrive and live happily.

This is why good water filters are crucial for goldfish tanks, and if you can’t put a filter, you should clean their home and change the water twice weekly.

#4 – How long do goldfish live in a small tank?

Each goldfish should have at least 10 gallons to itself. If a small tank has more fish than it should have, then they can live only for 2-3 years. Unfortunately, many goldfish don’t reach their true lifespan potential because of poor housing situations. 

#5 – How long do goldfish live in a 20-gallon tank?

If only one or two goldfish are in a 30-gallon tank, the fish will live for 15 years. But, the care and water conditions should be favorable to goldfish; only then will they live up to 15 years. 

#6 – How long do goldfish live in a 10-gallon tank?

A 10-gallon tank is enough to house one goldfish. They can live in the tank for 15 years if properly cared for. But they might die from loneliness. So, buying a bigger tank and putting some friends in for goldfish to enjoy their company is a great idea. 

#7 – How long do comet goldfish live?

Comet goldfish are very active and hardy in nature, and because of this, it is very easy to take care of them. However, theirs is a breed that thrives best in outdoor ponds.

That is why you will usually find them in koi ponds. If they are cared for adequately, then they can live up to 14 years (or longer; according to the environmental conditions) 

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